Gaelic Football

Sometimes not very accurately described as a cross between Soccer and Rugby, though it is older than either game, Gaelic Football is probably the most popular team sport in Ireland and is played in almost all counties.

It is an entirely amateur game with the men’s game much more popular that the women’s, though the latter is growing fast.

Although there are only 32 counties in Ireland, 34 play in the Gaelic Football All Ireland Championship , with London and New York as ‘honorary’ counties.

The championship series is played throughout the summer, culminating in a final played in Croke Park each September before a crowd of about 80,000 people. Twice that number would probably attend if enough tickets were available.

Main image: Under 16’s match by Kman999

How Gaelic Football is Played

All Ireland Final, by Michael McGonagle

All Ireland Final, by Michael McGonagle

Games are played by two opposing teams of 15 players each, with a ball that is similar but smaller and heavier than a soccer ball. The object is to get the ball though or into the opponent’s goalpost.

The goalpost is H shaped, with a net under the cross post. If the ball goes over the post, a point is scored, if it goes under the post and into the net a goal, which is worth three points, is scored.

The ball can be caught in the hands and carried in the hand for a distance of four steps. It then must be either kicked, passed by striking or punching it with the hand or fist (throwing is not allowed), or ‘solo-ed’, that is dropped onto the players foot then kicked back into his hand.

Scores can be made by a kicked ball or one struck by the hand or fist.

In this short video clip from the 2003 All Ireland Football Semi Final, between Kerry and Tyrone, the speed at which the game is played – and its toughness – is evident.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxUh5xsyz1E[/youtube]

Where to See Gaelic Football Played

Gaelic football is played all over Ireland, with the strongest counties being Armagh, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Meath and Tyrone.

As the All Ireland series, a knockout competition between counties, runs during the summer months there is plenty of opportunity for visitors to attend games. For bigger games, which tend to be in late summer, you will need a ticket, but for most you can just pay on the way in. Enquire locally about upcoming games, or check the GAA website or local and national newspapers.

Call into a GAA club any evening when there is training in progress. You will be welcomed, someone will be happy to explain the ins and outs of the game to you. There are GAA clubs in pretty much every parish in Ireland, and most are training throughout the summer, so just ask a local.

Gaelic Football & Australian Rules Football

Australian Rules football, a professional game played in Australia, have quite a few similarities, although the Aussie game is played with an oval ball. Attempts have been made in recent years to establish a joint or compromise code, enabling international games between the two countries.

These have had some if not overwhelming success. The best players in either country tend not to get involved and the fans’ imaginations have not really been fired by the contests, each tending to feel that the rule changes excessively compromise the games.

That said several series of international games have been played in the last 10-12 years, crowds have been good and the players involved have enjoyed the chance to represent their countries.

Football News

The GAA - Latest Football News

Who has made the GAA.ie Football Team of the Week? Remember, players may be picked in positions they may not have been selected in for the match programme. Disagree with our selection? Let us know what you think on Twitter or Facebook!
Posted: February 19, 2024, 12:51 pm
Daire Ó Baoill, David Clifford, and Con O'Callaghan are this week's nominees for GAA.ie Footballer of the Week. The voting process is simple: like their image on the GAA's official Instagram page. Voting will close at 10am on Tuesday February 20, and the winner will be announced on GAA.ie. **
Posted: February 19, 2024, 12:45 pm
Allianz Football League Division Four London 1-8 Tipperary 0-11 London veteran and former Laois star Cahir Healy was the hero for Michael Maher’s London side, as they tied this clash with Tipperary right at the death to earn their first point of the 2024 league campaign. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)
Posted: February 18, 2024, 6:56 pm

Published: September 17, 2008 | Updated: March 31, 2017

Housing & Homelessness

Much of the vaunted successes of the Celtic Tiger era in Ireland was based on …

Food in Ireland after the Famine

Recovery from the famine was slow, and it was 100 years before the Irish began …

History of Irish Food

The food people ate in the past in Ireland has always been closely interwoven …

Irish Cream Recipes

If you don't want to buy Irish Cream or can't find the perfect one, the good …

Sponsored Content

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *